Driverless cars – coming soon to the UK?

Driverless Car

One of Google’s driverless cars – photo by Marc Isler

There’s an interesting article on the BBC News site today saying that the UK Government is going to allow driverless cars on public roads from January of next year (2015). There have been driverless cars in the UK before now, but they have been restricted to running on private roads because of concerns over insurance and safety.

If you’re not quite sure what a driverless car is… well, it’s exactly what the phrase suggests: a car without a driver. Instead, you set your destination and the car takes you there, using an array of sensors to “read” its surroundings and a computer to determine what actions are safe to take.

I can kind of understand some of the concerns people have about driverless cars. Will they recognise a child running out into the street? Will they be able to cope with other drivers behaving badly? Well, I guess that’s the point of testing and, in the US, Google’s fleet of driverless cars had covered 700,000 accident-free miles as of the end of April 2014. Personally, I think having both driverless and human-controlled cars running on the same road will be a huge challenge, but one I’ll be interested to see how they deal with.

What do you think about driverless cars? Good idea? Dangerous? Scary? Or something else altogether? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and let us know your opinion.

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